Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The New Traditions of Christmas

I was thinking to myself the other day: What Christmas really needs is a few more traditions.

Of course, I was thinking satirically. Because really, the LAST thing Christmas needs is more traditions or symbols.

There seem to be a gazillion of them. Let’s try to count:

Santa Claus. Christmas Trees. Parades. Parties. Reindeer. Holly. Mistletoe. Gifts. Shopping. Decorations. Manger scenes. Wreaths. Stockings. The North Pole. Elves. Sleigh bells. Jingle Bells. Silver Bells. Toys for the kids. Snowmen. White Christmas. Blue Christmas. Silver and Gold. Candy Canes. Fruit Cake. Caroling. Egg Nog. Yule Logs. Holiday Movies. The Fireplace and chimney. Cookies and milk. Grandmothers House. Rudolph. Scrooge. Holiday Sweaters. Silent Night. Holiday Break. Turkey and dressing. Shepherds watching flocks by night. The Naughty and Nice list. Candles. Icicles. Sugar Plums. Joy to the World. Secret Santa. Top-hats and scarves. Sounds of the Season. Green and Red. Chipmunks. Dogs Barking Jingle Bells. The Gifts of the Magi. The Grinch. Christmas Pageants. Nutcracker. Holiday Lights. The Little Drummer Boy. Gift Exchange. Christmas Cards. Toyland. The Christmas Cantata. Deck the Halls. Gift Exchange. Ribbons and Bows. Figgy Pudding. Tiny Tim. Santa’s hat. Three wise men. Toys for Tots. The Christmas Ham. Gift Wrap. Garlands. Chestnuts roasting. Poinsettas. Ornaments. Jolly Ole St. Nick. Star of Bethlehem.

Okay, maybe not a gazillion… but lots. And those are just the ones that came to mind while I was sipping my hot chocolate with marshmallows.

We seem to add new holiday customs every year. (Mostly fueled by “the commercialism of Christmas”, I expect.)

As long as we’re going to keep adding new symbols and ceremonies to help celebrate the season, I thought I’d try to slip in a few I’d like to see.

So, just in time for YOUR holiday enjoyment, here are the Top Ten New Holiday Traditions I’d like to suggest:

10. Newman, the Nuclear Reindeer. This is my idea to replace Rudolph. Rather than the out-dated, rather-cliche glowing-nose, Newman would be a “glowing-all-over” reindeer, for cutting through the really dense fog certain to be brought about by global warming. Also, a nuclear powered reindeer could help solve the perennial question of all first-graders: “How can he make it all around the world in one night?” With a nuclear reindeer, the question practically answers itself.

9. Holiday Hum-a-longs. Face it. When’s the last time you went Christmas Caroling and actually knew the words to the carols? Oh, sure, maybe Jingle Bells or O Christmas Tree. But not the actual carols, like Good King Wenceslas. You don’t know the words. No one does. My solution: Hum-a-longs! And what’s the perfect complement for humming? Christmas Clogging!!!

8. Putting up the Grafitti Tree. It’s not unlike the traditional Christmas Tree. But instead of ornaments, garlands, and the ever-troublesome strands of lights, we’ll now just turn an inner-city kid loose with a few cans of spray paint. If you want to show off, add a can of Silly String. And to make it really glisten in the light, finish it off spraying on a light coating of PAM.

7. Nogzilla, the Destroyer. This is my idea for the next big Christmas villain, to go along with Scrooge and The Grinch. (As a writer, I have this notion that everything should come in threes.) The mythical Nogzilla follows St. Nick around on Christmas Eve night, destroying all the toys left by Santa, and leaving a cup of spoiled nog in its place. (There is a happy ending, of course -- just like Grinch and Scrooge – when all the nog magically turns into Peace and Goodwill.)

6. Jingle Bell piercings. I’m not a big fan of facial or body piercing… but some of those grungy kids would love it, I’ll bet. I’m guessing the “grunge” community is somewhat disengaged from the whole Christmas thing, and giving them their own new tradition – jingle bells dangling from various parts of their faces – would help pull them back into the spirit. Plus, for the rest of us, it would help give us early warning when they’re approaching, so we can leave.

5. Christmas Resolutions. Sort of a warm-up for New Years Resolutions, but they would only last a week. It could be a good way to test out our resolutions on a trial basis. Let’s say you want to break the habit of eating straight peanut butter with a spoon out of the jar every night before bedtime. If you can go a week without it, maybe you could give it up for good. I can even envision a new holiday TV show: “Dr. Phil’s Christmas Resolution Special.”

4. The Christmas Cat Exchange. It’s a cross between exchanging gifts and sending Greeting Cards to friends. I haven’t quite got the details of this one worked out, but I think it could work.

3. The Airing of Grievances. Full disclosure: I stole this from the TV show Seinfeld. It’s part of the annual celebration of Festivus, a holiday for the rest of us. For the record, I do not subscribe to the celebration of Festivus. But I’m perfectly willing to hijack their very noble tradition: The Airing of Grievances during the holiday season. And, it could help steer the conversation around the Christmas Dinner table away from “you wrapped up WHAT for her Christmas gift?!!!”

2. The Holiday Spam. Self explanatory, I believe. Need I say more?

1. A cell-phone which also serves as a holiday sweater. They can do every thing else, so why not a sweater? Leading up to Christmas, approximately every third TV commercial is an ad for a new cell phone which can take pictures, play music, send email, etc. They’re trying to make us believe a cell phone is THE perfect Christmas Gift. If they can make one that doubles as a Christmas Sweater, then it will, in fact, be the perfect Christmas Gift.

Well… there you have it: My list of suggested new holiday traditions. Of course, we could also go back to just celebrating that FIRST Christmas tradition -- the reason for the season.

Here’s hoping you have your best holiday ever: Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas… and Happy Birthday, Jesus!

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